On December 11, 1980 at 5:30 a.m., Indianapolis Police Sergeant Jack
Ohrberg and other officers went to 3544 North Oxford in Indianapolis
attempting to serve papers on persons believed to be at that
Ohrberg banged on the door several times and identified himself as a
police officer. Two other officers on the front porch were in
After the next door neighbor told officers that there was noise from
inside the apartment, Ohrberg crouched and pounded with his shoulder
on the door, which began to open. Officers saw furniture blocking
the door, and saw 2 or 3 muzzle flashes from two different locations
inside. Ohrberg was shot and collapsed on the porch.
Officers took cover and saw a man come out onto the porch, point a
rifle, and fire at least 2 additional shots into Ohrberg. Officers
took cover and returned fire. Shots continued to come from inside
After a few minutes, Gregory Resnover came out, threw down an AR-15
rifle and surrendered. Earl Resnover followed, laying down an AR-15
and a pistol. Ohrberg's business card was found in Earl's wallet.
Two women then came out, leaving wounded Smith inside. An AR-15
which was recovered next to Smith was found to be the murder weapon.
An arsenal of weapons and ammunition was recovered inside the
Accomplice Smith was also sentenced to death and executed July 18,
DOC#: 4168 Black Male
Marion County Superior Court
Judge Jeffrey V. Boles
Originally venued to Hendricks County.
By agreement, returned to Marion County, with Hendricks Circuit
Judge Jeffrey V. Boles presiding.
Prosecutor: J. Gregory Garrison,
David E. Cook (Stephen Goldsmith)
Defense Attorney: Thomas E.
Date of Murder: December 11,
Victim(s): Jack Ohrberg W/M/44 (Indianapolis
Police Officer - No relationship)
Method of Murder: shooting with
Summary: On December 11, 1980 at
5:30 a.m., Indianapolis Police Sergeant Jack Ohrberg and other
officers went to 3544 North Oxford in Indianapolis attempting to
serve papers on persons believed to be at that location.
Ohrberg banged on the door several times and
identified himself as a police officer. Two other officers on the
front porch were in uniform. After the next door neighbor told
officers that there was noise from inside the apartment, Ohrberg
crouched and pounded with his shoulder on the door, which began to
Officers saw furniture blocking the door, and saw
2 or 3 muzzle flashes from two different locations inside. Ohrberg
was shot and collapsed on the porch. Officers took cover and saw a
man come out onto the porch, point a rifle, and fire at least 2
additional shots into Ohrberg.
Officers took cover and returned fire. Shots
continued to come from inside the house. After a few minutes,
Gregory Resnover came out, threw down an AR-15 rifle and surrendered.
Earl Resnover followed, laying down an AR-15 and a pistol. Ohrberg's
business card was found in Earl's wallet. Two women then came out,
leaving wounded Smith inside.
An AR-15 which was recovered next to Smith was
found to be the murder weapon. An arsenal of weapons and ammunition
was recovered inside the apartment.
Conviction: Murder, Conspiracy
to Commit Murder (Class A Felony)
Sentencing: July 23, 1981 (Death
Sentence, 50 years imprisonment)
Aggravating Circumstances: b(6)
law enforcement victim
Mitigating Circumstances: None
(Joint Trial with Tommie J. Smith, who also
received a Death Sentence and was executed on 07-18 -96)
RESNOVER WAS EXECUTED BY ELECTRIC CHAIR ON
12-08-94 AT 12:13 AM EST. HE WAS THE 73RD CONVICTED MURDERER
EXECUTED IN INDIANA SINCE 1900 AND 3RD SINCE THE DEATH PENALTY WAS
REINSTATED IN 1977. RESNOVER WAS THE FIRST CONVICTED MURDERER TO BE
EXECUTED AGAINST THEIR WILL IN INDIANA IN OVER 30 YEARS AND THE LAST
TO BE EXECUTED BY ELECTRIC CHAIR.
INDIANA MURDERS AJAMU NASSOR-RESNOVER
Maoist International Movement
The state of Indiana has committed the first
involuntary execution of a death row prisoner since the 1960's. The
highly controversial case of Gregory Resnover, now Ajamu Nassor
Resnover, had the state claiming that Resnover shot and killed a pig
who was crashing through his front door in Indianapolis a number of
years ago. Ajamu has sat on death row ever since, and on December
8th, 1994, was murdered in the state's electric chair.
In September, Ajamu was moved to a segregated
housing unit, only a few short months after his brother Kondo was
moved from the same prison as Ajamu down to the brutal supermax at
Carlisle, Indiana.... The rest of the death row at Michigan City,
which had been on lockdown since [an] escape attempt, was
transported en masse to the MCC at Westville...,leaving only Ajamu
Nassor Resnover on the Row. Meanwhile, prison officials tightened up
security and reinforced cells and bars all over the death row unit.
On November 23rd, the Indiana Parole Board, after
a clemency hearing held in Indianapolis court, rejected Ajamu's bid
for clemency, leaving the matter in the hands of Governor Bayh.
Ajamu's attorney, Robert W. Hammerle, spoke to
the board, pointing out the extremely poor amount of evidence
against Ajamu in the killing of Indy detective Sgt. Jack Ohrberg.
Hammerle displayed a letter from former chief deputy prosecutor
David Cook, the lead prosecutor in Ajamu's original trial, who said
that there was "a masterful misrepresentation of facts" in the case.
He also quoted Indianapolis mayor Stephen Goldsmith who said
"Gregory Resnover is not the person who killed Jack Ohrberg." Also
on hand to testify was Ohrberg's daughter, Cindy Shoudt, who seemed
to feel that killing Ajamu would bring back her father, and
certainly didn't seem interested in whether Ajamu was guilty or not.
She pleaded with the board to deny him clemency. They denied it,
leaving the matter in Bayh's hands, and no one was surprised that
Bayh refused. As the date drew nearer, the NAACP sent petitions with
thousands of signatures on them in support of Ajamu's life (something
he said he "appreciated," before he died).
Desperate, last-minute attempts to save Ajamu's
life were made by his attorneys and many others. His supporters
pointed out, among all the other discrepancies in the case, that a
white man convicted of killing a cop (supposedly a "capital crime"
in Indiana) was freed after seven years in prison less than 15 years
ago, while Ajamu was on his way to death. But on Wednesday the 7th,
as the sun set, police and press began to flood the area around the
prison in Michigan City. Police were everywhere, blocking off many
roads to the area, and TV trucks could be seen from Ohio, Kentucky,
Illinois, and all over Indiana, not to mention all of the newspaper
and other reporters.
The press swooped on anyone they could find, and
one of the first people they found was Eric McCauley and Virginia
Burns of South Bend's Human Rights Coalition, who were there to
witness the execution, at Ajamu's request. The two were interviewed
extensively until Bill Pelke, head of Murder Victims' Families for
Reconciliation (MVFR, an anti-death penalty group) called to order
the 9:00 press conference that had been scheduled. He spoke briefly,
as did Ajamu's brother and cousin, Kevin, who attacked the press,
calling them "unjust and unGodly" and holding them responsible for
their role in Ajamu's death. Ajamu's family spoke in his defense
before the press and were hounded with every move they made before
finally entering the prison walls. Meanwhile, large crowds of
protesters continued to cover the area, holding signs and chanting,
"Not in our name!" and "The death penalty has got to go!"
Shortly a crowd of death penalty supporters
gathered in the area, holding signs like "Justice is 50,000 volts
through quivering, cop-killin' flesh" and other barbaric and
uninformed slogans. These people, many of whom were cops and none of
whom seemed to care that Ajamu was innocent (by the state's own
admission - governor Bayh, in his explanation of letting Ajamu be
murdered, said that, though Ajamu DID NOT kill Ohrberg, he probably
did kill a Brinks' guard he was accused of killing as well, so Ajamu
was a "criminal" and should be put to death). The pro-death crowd
began to become more and more violent, pushing and shoving anti-murder
demonstrators; a fierce verbal debate ensued, which finally calmed
down only after the anti-murder demonstrators put a stop to it.
At 11 p.m., the witnesses were allowed to enter
the prison. Besides McCauley and Burns, other witnesses included
Ajamu's 18 year-old son, a Goshen minister, an Indianapolis Star
reporter, and other members of Ajamu's family. Governor Bayh, Indy
mayor Stephen Goldsmith and prosecutor Jeff Modisett all refused
Ajamu's invitation to witness the murder to which they sent him.
Ajamu's father and many other members of his
family who were not witnesses held hands and offered a prayer for
him as the moment drew near. Ajamu was led out of the "waiting room"
he had been in since that afternoon (he had refused the last meal
and shower they offered him) and strapped into the chair. His face
was covered with a black hood, which the state required him to wear
even though he asked not to. He had given his final statement to his
lawyers several hours beforehand, so he made none. At 12:01 a.m. on
December 8th, the execution began; Ajamu Nassor (Gregory Resnover)
was pronounced dead at 12:13.
Outside, protesters, who had been chanting
loudly, were quieted as Ajamu's family, shaken and weeping, cut
through the crowd and left. Some witnesses, many of whom were asked
to witness so that they might report what they saw to others and
create a movement to end the death penalty, did indeed tell the
press graphically of the sights they saw. Eric McCauley and Virginia
Burns reported that Ajamu was still even before the switch was
pulled and remained so, even as they saw "sparks shooting out of his
head" and final jerking motions, and smelled burned flesh. The Star
reporter wrote something of a riveting account of the execution in
the Star of the 8th; we print even the brief description above only
in hope that it might make the People who don't already know aware
of the barbaric reality of the "death penalty."
Ajamu's attorney Hammerle, who was stopped by the
press on his way out of the prison (he also witnessed the murder),
was quite visibly shaken and outraged, calling the whole thing
"barbaric" and stating that "we don't even know who we are" here. A
Dept. of Corrections [sic] spokeswoman came out and made the
official pronouncement of death to the press; she was choking and
weeping, which did not stop angry protesters from calling her a
murderer and saying "You all are going to burn in hell for this!"
and "You'll have to answer to God for this!"
Ajamu's supporters vowed that his death would not
be in vain, and of course it won't. The funeral procession carrying
his body journeyed to Indianapolis on the afternoon of the 8th, with
many cars stopping at the governor's mansion in Indianapolis,
honking horns and waving signs as the press looked on. It was clear
that Bayh will be held accountable for the premeditated murder he
committed (one he committed strictly for political gains). As we go
to press, we have heard that someone (unidentified, but not
affiliated with the procession) fired a gunshot at Bayh's mansion on
the 9th, though no one was injured.
Ajamu Nassor-Resnover touched many lives while he
was alive; no one who knew him well was in favor of his death. Even
the prison warden at Michigan City choked up on the phone with him
during the last week of his life, and guards there sat up nights
crying as they spoke to him in those final weeks. He was a warrior
for the cause of justice, especially justice for Afrikan people, and
he knew that his death was a racist move, a political move and a
move put forth by a brutal state and country. He died calmly, having
said earlier that if the state did kill him, it must be the will of
Yahweh. Again, however, his death will NOT be in vain.
Next issue we will certainly have a proper
tribute to Ajamu from the many people who knew him and whose lives
he touched, and we encourage those who knew and loved him to send in
a few words (or pictures, or whatever) of tribute. This issue, we
will simply close by saying that those here who knew Ajamu Nassor-Resnover
loved him and we will never forget him, nor will we let his memory
die. His spirit lives within us all, and we know the Creator will
guide him on. We also know that he will Rest in Peace.... but will
Excerpted from The New Freedom: The Voice of
Indiana's Liberation Struggle, Winter 94/95, P.O. Box 14, Culver, IN
Convicted Cop Killer Dies in Indiana Electric
MICHIGAN CITY, Ind., Dec. 8 (Reuter) - Convicted
cop killer Gregory Resnover, 43, died in Indiana's electric chair
early Thursday, the third person executed in the state since the
death penalty was restored in 1976.
It was the first Indiana execution since 1976
carried out over legal objections from the condemned. In the other
two cases both men had waived appeals. Resnover's lawyer had pursued
appeals until a few hours before the end came in the 19th century
walled state prison in this northern Indiana town. A small group of
death penalty opponents stood vigil in freezing weather outside the
prison while the execution took place.
An Indianapolis policeman was shot to death in
December of 1980 during a raid on a gang of accused bank robbers to
which Resnover belonged. One of the robberies had resulted in the
slaying of a Brink's armoured car guard. It was one of Resnover's
companions who fired the actual shots that killed John Ohrberg, a
19-year veteran of the police force. But Resnover said that he also
fired shots at police during the confrontation, and he was also
convicted of the murder.
In later appeals, however, his lawyers cited
evidence that he fired no shots in the raid and may have lied to
protect a younger brother, the third member of the gang, who was not
charged with the policeman's death. Resnover was also later
convicted of killing the Brink's guard but it was his involvement in
the policeman's death that put him on death row for the past 13
Since 1897 Indiana has executed 74 men. It has
used the electric chair since 1914. In the years since the death
penalty was restored there have been 256 executions in the United
States, including Thursday's.
Source: Reuters News Service
More Heat Than Light in Coverage of Resnover
Execution; Inside the Indianapolis Media
By Steve Hammer - NUVO Newsweekly
December 14, 1994
Every local TV news department sent live crews to
Michigan City to cover the execution of Gregory Resnover last week,
but the coverage gave off more heat than light. Once again, Channel
13, and especially correspondent Jane Harrington, led the pack in
terms of having the information first and best. (Of course, the TV
stations, for once, were chasing the print media in this case,
specifically Star writer Lynn Ford, who obtained an exclusive
interview with Resnover.) To its credit, Channel 13 interrupted Late
Night With Conan O'Brien several times for live coverage from
outside the prison, and also carried the post-execution news
conference live, ending its coverage only after the prison spokesman
admonished the reporters not to leave, that the press conference
While Channel 8's live coverage was up to its
usual standards, an unfortunate faux pas tarnished its impact. At
12:35 a.m. Thursday, the station went to a black screen instead of
running its scheduled program -- ironically, the station's post-Dave
show is Last Call. Instead of going to a live report, viewers were
treated to more than a minute of open-mike studio chatter and
laughter from newsroom staffers -- inappropriate to the serious
nature of the story, one may feel. But anyone who's spent time
around a newsroom knows that kind of stuff goes on all the time.
Back to the Resnover case: The strongest
editorial opinion, as usual, came from Recorder columnist Amos Brown,
who asked Evan Bayh, "Governor, why? You couldn't have stayed it a
few weeks, while the doubts and questions were either being answered
or explained? Is running for a job in Washington really that
important to you?"
Memory of Client's Execution Torments, Drives
The haunting sight has changed the man and the types
of cases he chooses to argue
By Diana Penner - Indiana Coalition Against the
Indianapolis Star, February 26, 2001
Bob Hammerle decided he would look. Despite
advice that he simply glance away, Hammerle would keep his eyes
focused on Gregory Resnover as 2,300 volts of electricity surged
through the convicted man's body -- jolting it up in the wooden
chair against straining leather straps, sending a flash of flame and
a wisp of smoke up from his head, and permeating the room with the
sickly sweet scent of burnt flesh. As Resnover's heart stopped,
Hammerle's heart pounded. As Resnover's life ended, Hammerle's life
was wrenched. Resnover's eyes were hidden by a black hood, and
Hammerle couldn't turn his eyes away.
Now, 6 years later, the criminal defense
attorney's opposition to the death penalty remains strong --
intellectually, philosophically, emotionally and morally. But he
can't do the legal work anymore. He cannot represent a client who
faces the death penalty. Not since Resnover. "I can't deal with it
when somebody's life's on the line," he said, furiously wiping away
tears after recounting the last minutes of Gregory Resnover's life.
"Because you can't have this happen. "I mean, you've got to stay
detached, and I can't anymore."
Last year, the Republican governor of Illinois, a
death penalty supporter, issued a moratorium on executions after a
series of people on death row were exonerated. Gov. Frank O'Bannon
subsequently directed a legislative study commission to take a look
at Indiana's laws and procedures to ensure the death penalty was
being fairly applied, but he stopped short of a moratorium. Hammerle
said in the long run, he is confident the death penalty will be
abolished. He continues to speak out against capital punishment in
many settings -- but not in courtrooms.
Hammerle had been involved with only a few death
penalty cases before Resnover's and was on the Resnover case for
only 7 months, when lawyers had exhausted all court appeals. He had
long been a passionate voice against capital punishment, however,
and joined Resnover's legal team for the final rounds of the battle
for Resnover's life. Hammerle was brought on board to argue for
clemency before the parole board and to be the point-person for the
media. He became as close to Resnover as the rest of the team, and
continues to argue even now that Resnover was executed based on a
court record filled with errors. His passion about the Resnover case
is something he believes even Jack Ohrberg would have understood, he
said, recalling a difficult case in which Ohrberg, by testifying
truthfully, hurt the prosecution's case.
Ohrberg was a man of integrity, and the law
mattered to him, Hammerle said. That's why he could reconcile his
grief for the slain officer while he worked on behalf of Resnover. "It
was what Jack Ohrberg would have expected me to do," Hammerle said.
When all of Resnover's appeals were gone and an execution date
loomed, it was Hammerle who was chosen to watch -- to ensure that
Resnover knew an advocate was with him, and to be a witness should
something go wrong. It was a role no one on the legal team wanted,
but all agreed someone had to see through.
It's not unusual for attorneys who watch their
clients be executed to never take a death penalty case again, said
George Kendall, staff attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in
New York. "It asks too much of people," said Kendall, who has
witnessed 4 executions. "It's the worst experience I've ever had."
It was Kendall who advised Hammerle, in a long distance call from
New York to the car that was taking Hammerle to Michigan City's
Indiana State Prison, to look away for the 1st jolt. Kendall had
been there, and he wanted to spare Hammerle the horror. Instead,
Hammerle absorbed the execution completely. It would give him
nightmares, leave him weeping whenever he recounted it and send him
And the day after Resnover was executed, the
legal team made a decision that would haunt Hammerle in another way
-- they drove Resnover's body back to Indianapolis and paraded it in
a caravan around the governor's residence. Then-Gov. Evan Bayh was
serving as host of a Christmas party and many of the guests were
friends of Hammerle's. The caravan was a protest, one that seemed
logical to the frustrated and heart-broken attorney at that time,
but it left him ostracized from the Democratic "in" group, which
didn't appreciate the timing or the tone of the demonstration. For
Hammerle, a social man who thrives on human interaction and
conversation, the long-term fallout was devastating.
Even today, while he won't actually say he
regrets the decision to take Gregory Resnover to crash the
governor's Christmas party -- he remains loyal to the cause and
devoted to his colleagues -- it's the one aspect of his advocacy for
Resnover that gives him pause. "I'm tormented by the possibility
that somehow, I tarnished the whole thing," he said. "I was fearful
of that." Still, friendships were lost. Over the long term, the
stress also contributed to strain on his marriage to Monica Foster,
his law partner at the time and a leader of Resnover's legal team.
Their divorce is now pending.
Foster and Rhonda Long-Sharpe, who also was on
the Resnover team and part of Hammerle's Indiana Avenue law practice,
have left to open their own firm. They will concentrate on the kind
of legal work that Hammerle has left behind -- capital punishment.
In the days, months and years since the execution, Hammerle has
endured symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome similar to the
battle-fatigue of war veterans and others who have been traumatized.
"He would wake up in the middle of the night screaming, and that was
something he never did before,'' said Foster, who remains close to
Foster was at a nearby motel during the execution,
but she wasn't left unscathed by it. "I didn't get out of bed for 2
months," she said. "When I finally did get up, I seriously
questioned whether I was going to go back to work." Eventually, she
did -- and she credits Resnover with helping her do so. Foster also
still can't get through a discussion about Resnover without choking
up, which she did as she recounted her last visit with him. He told
and Long-Sharpe that their efforts had given him dignity. "He said,
'Keep fighting for these guys.' And we said, 'That is the one thing
that we cannot promise you.' He said, 'Give it a couple of days or a
couple of weeks. If you feel the strength to represent people back
here, then you will know that I will be helping hold you up.'"
At first, Hammerle tried to do more death penalty
work, too. He took one case within a year or two of Resnover's
execution, but had to be excused because he had once represented a
witness for the state. But during the time he was on the case,
Hammerle said, he realized he was hoping to be removed from the
case. For the realization that he can no longer represent clients
facing the death penalty, he offers this baseball metaphor: A batter
who has been beaned by a fastball might never be a reliable hitter
again, because he flinches. A defendant who faces the death penalty,
Hammerle says, can't afford an attorney who flinches.
Resnover v. State,
460 N.E.2d 922 (Ind. March 19, 1984) (Direct Appeal).
Defendant was convicted in the Marion County
Superior Court, Criminal Division, Jeffrey Boles, Special Judge, of
conspiracy to commit murder and murder, and was sentenced to fifty
years imprisonment for conspiracy and to death for murder. Defendant
directly appealed. The Supreme Court, Pivarnik, J., held that: (1)
Indiana's death penalty statute is constitutional; (2) Superior
Court adequately followed standards and guidelines prior to
imposition of the death penalty; (3) prosecutor's discretion to file
a capital punishment count was permissible; (4) manner in which
imposition of the death sentence is automatically reviewed contains
no latent constitutional infirmities; (5) defendant's motion for
continuance due to prejudicial publicity was properly denied; (6)
testimony of police officer, news reporter, and fellow jail inmate
concerning statements made by defendant were admissible; (7) tape
recording of police radio communications was admissible; (8) officer
was properly allowed to testify during penalty phase of defendant's
trial; and (9) death penalty was not arbitrarily or capriciously
imposed upon defendant, and was reasonable and appropriate in his
case. Affirmed and remanded.
Defendant-Appellant Gregory Resnover was found guilty by a jury in
the Marion Superior Court of conspiracy to commit murder and murder.
The trial court sentenced Appellant to fifty years imprisonment for
conspiracy and to death for murder.
Appellant now directly appeals and raises the
following eight consolidated issues for our consideration:
1. whether Indiana's death penalty statute is constitutional;
2. whether certain pretrial publicity rendered the trial court's
denial of Appellant's Motion for Continuance a reversible error;
3. whether Appellant's "Miranda " rights were violated when the
trial court allowed a police officer to testify about overhearing a
certain remark by Appellant;
4. whether the trial court erred by permitting a news reporter to
testify about certain admissions made to him by Appellant;
5. whether the trial court erred by permitting a jail inmate to
testify about certain admissions made to him by Appellant;
6. whether the trial court erred by admitting a certain tape
recording into evidence;
7. whether the trial court erred by permitting a witness to testify
in alleged violation of a separation order; and
8. whether the trial court erred by sentencing Appellant to death
when it was asserted that he was not the "trigger man."
The evidence adduced during trial showed that at
approximately 3:00 a.m. on December 11, 1980, Indianapolis Police
Sergeant Jack Ohrberg met Sergeant Lewis J. Christ to serve papers
on certain individuals believed to be at 3544 North Oxford Street in
Indianapolis. Sergeant Ohrberg and Christ subsequently were joined
by other officers before arriving at the duplex residence at 3544
North Oxford at approximately 5:30 a.m. With Officers Schneider and
Harvey standing watch in the rear, Ohrberg, Christ and Officers
Ferguson and Foreman proceeded to the porch and front door. Foreman
and Ferguson were in uniform. Ohrberg knocked loudly several times
and identified himself as a police officer.
He then went to 3546 North Oxford, the adjacent
other half of the double residence, and checked with Sandra
Richardson to ascertain whether any persons were known to be inside
the 3544 address. Richardson told Ohrberg that she had heard noise
come from 3544. Ohrberg returned to 3544 and again pounded on the
front door and announced himself as a police officer. Ohrberg then
assumed a crouched position and started to use his right shoulder to
batter the door which, after a few hits, began to open. Ohrberg
continued to hit the door placing his body partially inside the door.
Foreman was shining a flashlight over Ohrberg's head since it was
dark inside the residence and Foreman wondered why the front door
would not fully open. Looking inside the house,
Foreman saw some furniture blocking the door.
Sergeant Christ also saw the furniture. As Foreman looked inside, he
suddenly saw a burst of muzzle flashes and heard two, possibly three,
shots in quick succession. The simultaneous muzzle blasts came from
two separate locations approximately eight to ten feet apart. Christ
also heard shots emanate from inside the residence. Ohrberg said: "Oh,
no, I've been shot" or "I've been hit" and then stepped back two
steps, sank to his knees and collapsed on the porch.
Taking cover, Christ saw a person with an "Afro"
type hairstyle emerge from the dark doorway onto the porch and fire
at least two additional shots into Sergeant Ohrberg. Shots also were
being rapidly fired from within the residence. When Christ returned
the gunfire, the man on the porch quickly retreated inside the
building. Ferguson also saw the person stand over Ohrberg and fire
his rifle into Ohrberg. Ferguson specifically testified that he
could see the muzzle flash as the rifle was fired. Ferguson fired at
the gunman and then ran around the corner of the house where gunfire
continued to be directed at him.
After more shooting, a man identifying himself as
"Gregory" called from inside the house and said "Let's talk."
"Gregory" stated that there was an injured man inside and offered to
send out the two women occupants. Christ refused to accept the women
and ordered "Gregory" outside. "Gregory" then said that he would
come out whereupon he stepped to the door, threw a weapon out into
the front yard and walked onto the front porch with his hands raised.
Christ identified this man as Appellant Gregory
Resnover and identified an AR-15 rifle as similar to the weapon
Appellant threw into the front yard. Ferguson also identified the
man as Gregory Resnover. Earl Resnover subsequently followed
Appellant out onto the front porch where he laid down an AR-15 rifle
and a Smith and Wesson revolver. Two women lastly walked out of the
house leaving wounded Tommy Smith alone in the building. Foreman
testified that the four came out of the house approximately ten to
fifteen minutes after the initial burst of gunfire.
Forensic pathologist Dr. James A. Benz performed
an autopsy on the body of Jack Ohrberg. Benz testified that Ohrberg
died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. He specifically
testified that one bullet perforated Ohrberg's abdominal wall and
external iliac artery and completely severed his iliac vein. Another
shot lodged in the soft tissues of Ohrberg's back after fracturing
parts of two vertebrae. A third shot entered his left side,
fractured his tenth rib and bruised his lung. There were 600
mililiters of blood in Ohrberg's abdominal cavity.
The weapons thrown into the front yard or left on
the front porch were collected by Russell Bartholomew, a crime lab
technician. Bartholomew testified that the weapon thrown down by
Appellant was an AR-15 automatic rifle with live rounds.
The weapons on the porch were another loaded
AR-15 and a loaded .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver. Evidence
technician Cosmos Raimondi recovered weapons, ammunition clips,
bullets and shell fragments from inside the house after it was
secured by police. Raimondi testified that he found: --one AR-15
rifle without clip but with one live round chambered; the rifle's
clip was located nearby damaged but containing twenty-five live
rounds; --one .30 caliber Universal carbine with one round chambered
and a clip containing twenty-five rounds; --one rifle clip concealed
in a bathroom light fixture; --one Mauser 7.65 automatic pistol
recovered from underneath the front room sofa with one round
chambered and one five round clip; --fifteen spent shell casings
recovered from the front room and kitchen; --twelve live Smith and
Wesson rounds for a .38 caliber Special pistol; --one .223
ammunition clip with twenty-five live bullets discovered hidden
underneath the front sofa; --another .223 ammunition clip with
twenty-six live bullets; --one ammunition pouch with seven live
automatic bullets found underneath a cushion on the front sofa; --fifteen
Smith and Wesson Specials and one WW .38 Special found lying loose
on a coffee table; --one Memorex casette box with fifteen live .38
caliber bullets; --one AR-15 clip with thirty live .223 caliber
bullets discovered in the rear bedroom; and --one black shaving case
containing one knife, one empty Colt AR-15 clip, one ammunition clip
possibly for a M-1 carbine and two hearing protectors.
The AR-15 recovered from the front porch bore
Appellant's fingerprints on the ammunition clip. Although this gun
had fired eight of the recovered shell casings, it did not fire the
bullet recovered from Ohrberg's body. The AR-15 found inside the
house with its broken clip located nearby fired the bullet retrieved
from Ohrberg's body. The broken clip appeared to have been dented by
Crime lab technician Robert McCurdy testified
that he performed atomic absorption tests on swabbings taken from
the arms of Appellant and Tommy Smith. Appellant's right arm had
significantly higher amounts of barium and antimony, components of
modern ammunition primer, indicating his handling or firing of a gun.
The tests conducted on the swabbings taken from Appellant's left arm
were inconclusive. McCurdy also recovered from Earl Resnover a
billfold containing Sergeant Ohrberg's business card.
* * *
The record shows that Appellant did, in fact,
take a substantial part in the shooting at police officers which
resulted in Sergeant Jack Ohrberg's death. The record clearly shows
that Appellant knowingly and intentionally participated in this
criminal activity which caused the death of a police officer who was
serving in an official capacity. We therefore find and now hold that
the death penalty as provided for by our statutes was not
arbitrarily or capriciously imposed upon Appellant and is reasonable
and appropriate in Appellant's case.
The trial court is affirmed in all things
including its imposition of the death penalty upon Appellant. This
cause is accordingly remanded to the trial court for the sole
purpose of setting the date when Appellant's death sentence is to be
carried out. GIVAN, C.J., and HUNTER, DeBRULER and PRENTICE, JJ.,
Resnover v. State,
507 N.E.2d 1382 (Ind. 1987) (PCR).
Defendant was convicted of murder. The Superior
Court, Marion County, John W. Tranberg, Special Judge, denied
defendant's petition for postconviction relief, and defendant
appealed. The Supreme Court, Givan, J., held that: (1) defendant was
not denied effective assistance of counsel; (2) defendant was not
denied his privilege against compelled self-incrimination; (3)
postconviction relief witness was properly permitted to assert her
privilege against self-incrimination; (4) defendant was not entitled
to reopen postconviction relief proceedings; and (5) sentence was
not imposed by judge who was biased or prejudiced against defendant.
Following a jury trial, appellant was convicted of Murder and
Conspiracy to Commit Murder, a Class A felony. The court imposed the
death penalty on the murder count and a fifty (50) year sentence on
the conspiracy count. The convictions and sentences were affirmed on
direct appeal. Resnover v. State (1984), Ind., 460 N.E.2d 922, cert.
denied, 469 U.S. 873, 105 S.Ct. 231, 83 L.Ed.2d 160.
petition for post-conviction relief was denied, which adverse
decision he now appeals. The circumstances surrounding the offenses
for which appellant was convicted were detailed at length in our
opinion on direct appeal, Id., at 926-27, as well as in our opinion
in a companion case, Smith v. State (1984), Ind., 465 N.E.2d 1105,
The facts relevant to this appeal will be
discussed as they pertain to the issues raised by appellant.
Appellant filed his post-conviction petition on October 10, 1984.
After conducting two evidentiary hearings, the trial court denied
the petition on July 19, 1985. Six months later, appellant filed a "Verified
Motion for Relief From Judgment" in which he asked the court to set
aside its judgment on his petition for purposes of a hearing and the
consideration of additional evidence. That motion was also denied.
Pursuant to a request by appellant, this Court consolidated the
appeal from the denial of the post-conviction petition and the
appeal from the denial of the motion for relief from judgment.
Having failed to carry his burden of proof in the
trial court, appellant is in the position of one contesting a
negative judgment. Only if the evidence is without conflict and
leads to but one conclusion, and the trial court reached an opposite
conclusion, will we reverse that judgment as being contrary to law.
Dillon v. State (1986), Ind., 492 N.E.2d 661.
Initially, it should be noted that appellant has
presented a number of allegations of error in this appeal which were
either presented in his direct appeal or were available to him at
that time. Issues raised and considered on direct appeal are not to
be re-litigated in post-conviction proceedings.
* * *
The trial court is affirmed. SHEPARD, C.J., and
DeBRULER, PIVARNIK and DICKSON, JJ., concur.